Vulture Symbolism

“As in the psyche, so in the society.” – Debbie Happy Cohen

Why are vultures relevant to Joy-Based Living?

(It surprised me too!)

On a walk with my dog Hiro near a ridge on Lookout Mountain, I had a clear realization:

Joy-Based Living (JBL) is not about focusing on the positive. It’s about recognizing your belief in the negative, and undoing it. The result is Joy-Based Living.

Vulture Meme - Joy Based Living Is - sml

As this idea filled my mind, I looked up and there was a vulture flying very close by. It circled a few times, then glided away. A second and third vulture followed the first. I stood transfixed, completely amazed.

I reflected on the fact that if it weren’t for vultures doing their job – devouring carcasses – our natural world would be a very stinky and messy place. I felt deep appreciation for this strange, large bird.

Similarly, in Joy-Based Living, we are aiming to find those dead carcasses of negative feelings and beliefs that we continue to hold on to, so that we can let them go.  We aren’t trying to find JOY or PEACE or POWER. We are born with these qualities of being.

By surrendering the negative, we clear a canvas for the positive to emerge, which it NATURALLY does. Then we practice welcoming the positive.

In societies around the world, people wound each other through shame, abandonment and betrayal. What if there was a better way? What if we could release those old ways of being that may have helped us to survive up to this point, and UPGRADE how we treat one another (ourselves first and then others)… with embodied Languages of Well-Being which include healing fields of honor, commitment and loyalty.

As in the psyche, so in the society.

I find it really interesting that:

  1. Two of our largest global issues are clean water and clean air.
  2. Science is so far ahead of psychology; for our world to have peace, we must close this gap!

What if our version of an emotional filtration system is as simple as (gently and kindly) letting go of the negative and welcoming the positive each time they appear?

Rail against the common and customary.  Bliss out whilst hang-gliding in the high, bright skies. Rest in the unquestioning knowledge that all needs are laid at my feet.

Death on one level means life on another.

– Avia Venefica

Eagle_beak_sideview_A_Eagle beak sideview A by Thermos - Self-published work by Thermos - Licensed under CC BY-SA 25 via Commons
Griffon Vulture Photo by Thermos

Quotes about Vultures from Ted Andrews’ book Animal Speak:

The vulture is a patient hunter. It can soar for hours without flapping its wings. They are tremendous symbols of flight without power. They ride the thermals and windborne updrafts. They use air currents to interfere with the pull of gravity and allow themselves to fly. In essence, they do not need to expend much energy to oppose gravity. This is seen in the fact that their wings rarely move, reflecting that the power for flight does not come from them. They simply use what is available.

It may be a scavenger, but by cleaning up after death, it prevents disease from infecting other animals and the environment. It thus sustains life and enables rebirth.

Vultures will, upon rising, face the sun and spread their wings outward.

Vultures are also noted for their keen eyesight. Some scientists believe they pass subtle messages visually from one bird to another, especially when a carcass is found. They can spot kills over many miles. Their eyes see eight times more sharply than human eyes.

Maat, the Egyptian goddess of truth, is often shown with a vulture feather.

Vulture = Purification, never-ending vigilance, guardian of mysteries

This unique bird derives its name from the Latin vu/ tur (Probably from the same source as vellere ‎(“to tear, pluck”)) and although it does not kill its own prey, it is considered a raptor and a predator. It has a magnificent wingspan and an ability to soar effortlessly for great lengths of time. It is one of the most misunderstood birds, and yet it was one of the most powerful and mystical in many societies.

Learn more about participating in a Joy-Based Living Group by exploring this website.


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